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Cardizem and Exercise
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Cardizem and Exercise


  I am currently taking 120 mg of Cardizem in order to prevent (or least control) artrial fibrillation: heart beats too fast and irregular.  Can I peform normal exercise in which my heart rate becomes significantly elevated, such as bike riding up a steep hill while taking Cardizem.  Does Cardizem attempt to reduce my heart rate, or only keep it steady?  Is there a contradiction between what the medicine is attempting to do, and what happens during heavy exercise?
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Dear bruce,
Thank you for your question. Cardizem does slow the heart rate but exercise can override some of the effects of the drug resulting in a blunted rise in heart rate.  Whether or not you are able to perform normal exercise is up to you and your doctor. Here is some more information on cardizem.
IMPORTANT NOTE:
     THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO SUPPLEMENT, NOT
     SUBSTITUTE FOR, THE EXPERTISE AND JUDGMENT OF YOUR PHYSICIAN,
     PHARMACIST OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. IT SHOULD NOT
     BE CONSTRUED TO INDICATE THAT USE OF THE DRUG IS SAFE,
     APPROPRIATE, OR EFFECTIVE FOR YOU. CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE
     PROFESSIONAL BEFORE USING THIS DRUG.

USES:
     This medicine is a calcium channel blocker. Calcium is involved in muscle contraction. By
     blocking calcium, this medication relaxes the heart muscle and dilates the blood vessels to
     reduce blood pressure (hypertension) and relieve angina (chest pain).
HOW TO TAKE THIS MEDICATION:
     The capsule should be taken on an empty stomach once daily in the morning. Swallow
     whole. Do not open, chew or crush the capsule. Do not stop taking this drug suddenly
     without your doctor's permission. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
SIDE EFFECTS:
     This drug may cause dizziness and lightheadedness especially during the first few days.
     Avoid activities requiring alertness. When you sit or lie down for a while, get up slowly to
     allow your body to adjust and minimize dizziness. You may also experience bloating,
     heartburn, muscle cramps, headache, flushing, nasal congestion, sore throat, constipation or
     diarrhea. Inform your doctor if they become bothersome. Notify your doctor if you develop
     breathing difficulties, swelling of the hands or feet or an irregular heartbeat.
PRECAUTIONS:
     This drug has not been extensively studied in pregnant or nursing women. Be sure to tell
     your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Tell your doctor if you have heart, liver,
     or kidney disease. Avoid alcohol while taking this medication.
DRUG INTERACTIONS:
     Tell your doctor what medications you take, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners'),
     beta blockers, timolol ophthalmic, digoxin, disopyramide, high blood pressure medication,
     quinidine, carbamazepine, rifampin, cimetidine, lithium, flecainide, and cyclosporine. Avoid
     any drugs that increase your heart-rate (the decongestants phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine
     and phenylpropanolamine are examples). These drugs are commonly found in
     over-the-counter cough and cold products.
MISSED DOSE:
     If you miss a dose, take as soon as remembered; do not take if it is almost time for the next
     dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not
     "double-up" the dose to catch up.
STORAGE:
     Store at room temperature away from sunlight and
     moisture.
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.  Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.





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